Here we go again… Last year we covered every band on the Hobgoblin New Blood and Jagermeister stages in the run-up to Bloodstock 2015. This year, we’re going one better and aim to have interviews from all the bands on those two stages as well as all of those on the SOPHIE stage prior to the event kicking off on August 11th. That’s almost 100 interviews to get online for you lucky people over the course of the next couple of weeks. I bloody love this job, but you lot owe me a beer at Catton Hall, right?
Thanks to all the bands who’ve taken the time to respond!
Vrona – Jagermeister stage, Friday
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
Individually? All over the country/continent, but as a band we’re from Brighton on the sunny south coast!
How did you meet?
Jack: We all study/studied music at BIMM Brighton. It was really a case of me sort of meeting everyone by happenstance then all of us sort of drifting together through hanging out. I mean I met Connor by being in the same classes and drinking tea on breaks, Mat through mutual friends and parties, Dan through some end of year assessment where we played a Placebo track…
Connor: Yeah, Jack wrote a tune and wanted some ears on it, and I remember just playing some ideas over it and then ending up in a room with the other boys!
How long have you been playing together as a band?
Jack: Bit over a year ago wasn’t it?
Connor: Yeah, my memory is pretty crap but we started writing together a bit over a year ago? And then we started gigging about September time.
Jack: Yeah, that first gig was with Cambion who’re opening up the main stage on the Saturday. Everyone should go and see them, they’re gonna take off like a rocket.
Where does the name of the band come from?
Jack: The name basically revolved around the idea of not wanting to be limited by our name. We all love the idea of being fairly limitless in terms of what we want to do when we write and being able to add layers. A bird can fly over the same city a million times but still find something new with each pass and the basic idea is the same, you could listen to something over and over and still find some tiny detail or musical layer you never found before. So from there Mat brought in the idea of Vrona, basically coming from the word “Wrona” which is Polish for Crow. It went really well with the bird imagery and being limitless, while sort of reflecting the slightly darker nature of what we do.
What are your influences – individually or as a band?
Jack: As a band? Guys like Karnivool, Tool, TesseracT etc would be our basecamp, prog with more of a straight up groove and vibe to it as opposed to the unbelievably skilled shredders like Animals As Leaders – those guys are incredible but for me personally aren’t what we’re about. Personal influences though? Machine Head, Metallica, Pantera, Meshuggah, Toska, Sia… I’m from the more metal side of things but I’m a ridiculous sucker for pop. Sia and Paramore make up a ridiculous amount of my “listening diet.”
Mat: Dream Theater, Rush, Riverside, Porcupine Tree
Connor: Video game music! I go through phases with what music inspires me. In a band context I tend to try and soak up the music that the other members like as much as possible, that way I can have a better understanding from where they are coming from musically.
Dan: Sikth, The Mars Volta, Portraits, Northlane, Destiny Potato, Tesseract, Skyharbor. I love the grooves in there, they just sound a bit different to the norm. Some prog tends to be outright ridiculous with over filling/over playing the groove needed, whereas with these bands often the groove is enough to carry the song and leave room for the melody to stand out.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Jack: It’s instrumental which is a bit of a difference to the norm, and beyond that I’d say that a lot of other instrumental prog bands tend to focus on the technical aspects of playing and being absolutely incredible in terms of virtuosity which is awesome… but we’re a lot more centred around the vibe and the groove, making textures and soundscapes that stretch for miles in every direction like a fabric with a million intricate details that all exist together, rather than stuff that makes you go crazy because of how insane it is on a technical level. Not that there isn’t a place for that stuff of course: Animals as Leaders, Polyphia, all those guys are absolutely ridiculous at what they do and we love them, but hey, there’s the stuff that makes us a bit more niche in our already niche genre!
What’s your live show like – why should the baying hordes troop over to the stage you’re playing on to watch you?
Jack: It’s all about the vibe with a fat dose of heavy pit-monkey riffs thrown in for good measure and pure energy! (Plus we don’t clash with any main stage stuff)
Connor: On a good day we might even smile at you, plus we’re bringing some free goodies to bloodstock.
Jack: Yes, free shirts and cd’s!
When/how did you find out you’d been selected to play at Bloodstock?
Connor: Was the final of the Metal to the Masses in Brighton, all the bands that night were incredible. The Vehement boys won it, who are definitely on my watch list for the weekend. But Simon Hall announced us to play as well and us boys just lost it. Don’t think I’ve screamed swear words in joy that loud for a while!
Jack: Yeah Bloodstock is up there with places like Download and Wembley on the bucket list so to say “I smiled” is a bit of an understatement… I mean there was free beer for the bands playing but I’m fairly sure there were some tears between me and Mat.
What sort of setlist can we expect?
Connor: We’re bringing our favourite tunes off the EP and maybe a new one….
Which main stage band do you most hope you’re not clashing with so you can see them play?
Jack: We’re on Friday so Behemoth. If I miss any of The Satanist I’ll spend the rest of the weekend crying to myself. There’s tonnes of other stuff on the Friday we want to avoid though – Meta-Stasis, Brutai, Anti-clone, Vehement… the whole weekend is jam packed with incredible bands!
What are you working on at the moment?
Connor: Writing mostly, and trying to evolve our sound. I’ve just got myself a 7 string which I’m quite enjoying. It’s nice to have the increased range and possibilities for chord voicings.
Jack: Yeah basically writing, rehearsing in the lead up to Bloodstock tour and Mammothfest in September/October!
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done on tour?
Jack: Get back to us at the tail end of September after we’ve been up and down the country with Ineo for 8 days…
What advice would you give to a young band just starting out today?
Connor: First believe in your music, if you don’t think that it kicks ass, then no-one will.
Jack: Yeah, don’t go out there until you’re totally happy with what you write, then go out believing you truly are the shit, that confidence translates. Beyond that it’s just putting 110% into everything you do, being prepared to make a lot of sacrifices and making as many contacts and friends as you can, from everyone who comes to see you play to every sound guy and every promoter.
In short just don’t be a dick.
If you could be part of any 3-band line-up who else would you have on the bill? One band above you and one below – a chance to plug a smaller, unsigned act!
Jack: We’ve spoken about this and couldn’t agree… but above would be either Porcupine Tree, Karnivool, Tool or Pink Floyd, and below would be Core of iO, Sumer, Toska, King Leviathan, Ineo, A Night in The Abyss, Dreamwaves… the best thing about being in a band is that you see so many incredible local acts, all of whom have their own sound and their own edge. The UK underground scene is honestly one of the most exciting places to be in the world.
Or you know, go big or go home. Put Metallica above us, why not.
What stage / time are you playing at Bloodstock (if you have your slot yet!)
Jack: Friday! penultimate band on the Jager stage. Times are subject to change right down to the wire but the second we’ve got something in concrete, you’ll know about it!